A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon/Jacob (III)
JACOB. In the years just previous to the fall of the Nephite commonwealth, (A. C. 30) a relentless persecution was waged against the followers of Christ, when many of the believers, under the color of the law, were unjustly put to death. But though executed by order of the corrupt courts, the proceedings were in the highest degree illegal, as it was contrary to the Nephite law for any prisoner to be put to death unless the warrant therefor had first been signed by the chief governor of all the land. Contrary to the provision of this statute, the persecutors of the saints, feeling strong in their numbers and influence, set the law at open defiance, and continued to condemn and execute the Christians. Among those conspicuous for this revengeful and illegal course, was a man of much influence among the corrupt and degraded majority, whose name was Jacob.
The cry of these infamies reached the chief judge, but when he expostulated the offenders treated his requirements with contempt, and broke out in open rebellion, associating themselves together by the same unholy oaths and covenants that had beforetime done so much towards destroying the nation. In these traitorous movements Jacob made himself conspicuous.
The leaders in these conspiracies determined to overthrow the republic and establish a monarchy. To this end the chief judge was assassinated and Jacob proclaimed king.
The result was not as successful as the royalists anticipated. The majority of the people would not be ruled by a king. They preferred rather to break up into numerous tribes, each with its own chieftain and internal regulations; but all these tribes of the people united in their objections to the proclamation of a monarchy.
Jacob, who had with him the majority of the most vile and corrupt of the nation, those who had been most officious and relentless in persecuting the servants of God, did not despair. He imagined that in course of time he would be so greatly strengthened by dissatisfied members of the tribes that he would eventually be able to conquer them and establish his supremacy. For the present he determined to remove, with those who recognized his authority, to the northernmost part of the land, there consolidate his power and found his kingdom. So ably did he carry his intentions into effect that the tribes Were unable to arrest his movements. Arrived at the chosen land, Jacob and his people laid the foundation of a magnificent city, to which was given the name of Jacobugath (A. C. 31). His subjects were mostly rich, and their material progress was remarkable, but they exceeded in vice, in depravity, in corruption, all the inhabitants of the continent. Their history is a short one. In the terrible convulsions of nature that marked the sacrifice of the Lord of Life and Glory, Jacobugath, with many other Nephite cities, was entirely consumed by fire. (A. C. 34.) Its population of traitors and murderers was destroyed, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto God any more against them. If Jacob was yet alive he undoubtedly perished at this time with his people.